Bus Drivers On Verge Of Striking Could Strand Thousands Of Students

Ted Goodman | Reporter

More than 900 New York City bus drivers could strike Nov. 1, opening up the possibility that thousands of students stranded without a way to attend school.

Drivers and employees at two of New York City’s largest school bus companies voted to authorize a strike Wednesday evening.

The employees of Jofaz Transportation and Y&M Transit voted to authorize the strike at a union meeting where members discussed healthcare costs and reduced holidays. According to CBS New York, 85 percent of the members present voted to authorize the strike.

The current contract extension expires Oct. 31, and a potential strike would take place the day after. The two companies are owned by the same man, Joe Fazzia. According to a New York Daily News story, Fazzia was charged with making false statements to the FBI in 2008. At the time, Fazzia had denied making payments to what the Daily News described as the “mob-controlled union,” referring to Amalgamated Transit Workers Union Local 1181. Current bus drivers are represented by Teamsters local 553 in New York.

According to the union, the bus drivers and attendants are being asked to pay for future health care cost hikes that its workers can’t afford because many of them are being paid minimum wage. The union has already extended the current contract twice, and is now prepared to strike if a new deal isn’t hashed out by Nov. 1.

“Look at how many children they’re responsible for getting picked up and brought back home for school,” said the union. “We don’t want to inconvenience the public at all, and it’s a drastic measure, but sometimes these measures have to be taken.”

“We are disappointed with this outcome and working to swiftly address concerns of students, families and educators,” Deptartment of Education spokeswoman Devora Kaye said in a statement. Kaye explained that the agency had contingency plans in place if the bus drivers do go on strike. “We have contingency plans in place, either a MetroCard for students and families or alternate bus service, to ensure transportation options for students.”

Jofaz Transportation and Y&M Transit responded to all inquiries from The Daily Caller News Foundation with “No comment.”

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